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Aging Ment Health. 2015;19(2):169-74. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2014.920297. Epub 2014 May 29.

Correlation between cognition and symptomatic severity in patients with late-life somatoform disorders.

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  • 1a Department of Psychiatry, Kashiwa Hospital , Jikei University School of Medicine , Chiba , Japan.



Various aging associated factors, such as functional decline, psychosocial problems, and cognitive dysfunction, are risk factors for somatoform disorders (SDs) in the elderly. The aim of the present study was to evaluate how cognition is correlated with the severity of late-life SDs from a neuropsychological viewpoint.


Fifty-three patients over 60 years of age who had been diagnosed as having SDs were examined in this study. The severity of the somatic symptoms was assessed using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scales (HAMA). Cognitive functions were assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB), and the Japanese version of the Neurobehavioral Cognitive Examination (J-COGNISTAT).


The J-COGNISTAT subtest score for attention was below the cutoff point (8 points) but was not correlated with the severity of the somatic symptoms in the patients with late-life SDs. The severity of anxiety as assessed using the HAMA was significantly correlated with the calculation scores (P < 0.005) among the J-COGNISTAT subtests, the FAB total (P < 0.05), and the FAB subtest scores (similarities and motor series) (P < 0.01). Other factors, including the benzodiazepine dosage, antidepressant dosage, the duration of illness, and the onset age, were not significantly correlated with the symptomatic severities.


Patients with late-life SDs showed attention deficits, but no correlation was seen between the attention deficits and symptomatic severities. Attention deficits might be associated with the appearance of symptoms. Executive dysfunction and working memory might be associated with the severity of symptoms.


anxiety; cognitive functioning; other disorders

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